On Thursday, Jamal Adams, Chris Carson, Carlos Hydes, Travis Homer, Mike Iupati, Ugo Amadi, and Benson Mayowa all didn’t practice for the Seahawks. That’s the second day in a row thir top three running backs haven’t suited up. Left tackle Duane Brown didn’t practice, but it was a “rest” day. Brown was limited on Wednesday with a knee injury.
So here’s a name to watch: Mike McDaniel. The Niners’ run game coordinator is a key to a lot of this, and he’s the one assistant that Shanahan has taken everywhere he’s gone—from Houston to Washington, Cleveland, Atlanta and now San Francisco. The former Yale receiver has been a popular coordinator candidate the last year or two, and with the new rules in place on coaches seeking promotions, it’d be easier for him to leave if he wants to call plays somewhere else.
It also wouldn’t be a shocker if defensive coordinator Robert Saleh—who’s done a phenomenal job in his own right amid a mountain of injuries—wanted to bring McDaniel with him if he gets his shot at being a head coach come January (McDaniel was on Saleh’s list when he interviewed last year). That, for all the reasons above, would only make Saleh a more attractive candidate.
Also, the 49ers are expected to regain a fifth-round compensatory pick in 2021 for Sanders’ departure to New Orleans as a free agent, according to OverTheCap.com’s analysis of the NFL’s compensatory formula.
If the 49ers had made the same deal, it would not have been so much about the price to acquire Dunlap but the cost in cap dollars to pay him.
Dunlap will make more than $4 million for the remainder of this season. The 49ers are right up against the cap as it is. He is scheduled to make $11.1 million next year.
Warner is next for a big contract, and he might not step on the field in 2021 without a new deal.
So, sure, the 49ers could be buyers at the trading deadline.
But there would almost certainly be an equal and opposite reaction on the roster next season.
Here’s the brief exchange between Garoppolo and his old offensive coordinator.
McDaniels: I’ll stay in touch.
Garoppolo: Yeah, no doubt, man.
McDaniels: All right. Good luck.
Garoppolo: Good luck the rest of the way, Josh.
McDaniels: Thanks, you too
Of course, the most logical explanation is that the two are old friends and probably chat semi-regularly. But there’s the alternative read-in which could suggest McDaniels and Garoppolo would like to team up together in the future, whether that be in New England or elsewhere.
“You’ve just got to play big,” Verrett responded. “He’s a big, physical guy. He’s having a hell of a season so far. It’s going to be an exciting matchup for us — him and Tyler Lockett.”
Metcalf stands tall at 6-foot-4 and around 230 pounds. Verrett stands at 5-foot-10 and around 190 pounds. That doesn’t mean he has any shortage of confidence in his ability to slow down the Seahawks’ big man.
“Yeah, I’ve definitely played several big guys over the course of my career,” Verrett shared. “Obviously, he’s a different stature as far as with the explosion and his speed. You’ve just got to play physical. He’s probably going to try to bully guys. You’ve seen that he’s showing that on film. But yeah, it’s just going to be one of those matchups where the big boy pads gotta come on.”
Joseph waited until overtime last week after he had given up 34 points to unveil this blueprint, which is odd timing. I don’t know what took him so long, but he figured it out eventually and it won the game for him.
Joseph realized it’s impossible to rush just four defenders, drop seven into coverage consistently and beat Russell Wilson. He’s too good. He’ll scramble or buy time behind the line of scrimmage and complete a deep pass. He’s extremely accurate. He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks ever.
So what’s the best thing to do against Wilson?
Pressure the hell out of him. Sack him or force him to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible. Don’t let him be a play maker — make him be a distributor. And that’s what Joseph did relentlessly in overtime. And that’s what the 49ers must do on Sunday.
Sneaky 2020 costs
With these prior inefficiencies considered, it’s also vital to note that this has been an unusually expensive year for the 49ers to do business.
Left tackle Joe Staley’s retirement saddled the 49ers with $2 million of dead money. The 49ers then restructured Ford’s deal right before the season to open up $9.55 million of cap room for standard in-season procedures, but they quickly burned through that cash thanks to 2020’s incessant run of injuries.
Each subsequent replacement signing or practice-squad promotion has taken a small bite out of the 49ers’ salary-cap space:
- Defensive end Ziggy Ansah: $1.3 million
- Center Hroniss Grasu: $662,000
- Cornerback Ken Webster: $635,000
- Long snapper Taybor Pepper: $618,000
- Defensive back Jamar Taylor: $573,000
- Linebacker Joe Walker: $534,000
- Defensive end Jordan Willis: $509,000